9 Surprising Health Benefits of OIl Pulling

9 Surprising Health Benefits of Oil Pulling


9 Surprising Health Benefits of Oil Pulling

More and more research is revealing that the health of your mouth is extremely critical to the health of your whole body.   A dysbiotic oral cavity increases our risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and dementia (1, 2, 3).  Oil pulling is an easy and inexpensive way to improve the balance of microorganisms in the mouth and improve our health.

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing a pure oil around in the mouth to draw toxins from the body.  This practice has immediate and tangible effects on conditions such as halitosis, gingivitis and dental plaque.  Doing this regularly has been shown to improve the luster of the hair, clear the skin, whiten teeth, eliminate parasites, reduce joint pain and improve overall body odor (4, 5, 6).


The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene:

The balance of microorganisms plays an enormous role in the health of the overall body.  Numerous studies, including a very large report done at the University of Alabama School of Dentistry, have shown a connection between periodontal disease and increased risk of stroke and cognitive decline (7, 8).

One of the major oral bacteria is streptococcus mutans, which when left unchecked will multiply in the mouth and secrete toxins into the body’s bloodstream.  These toxins increase the inflammatory associated cytokine Interleukin-12 (IL-12) which is a strong contributor for the development of chronic disease (9, 10).

Elevated levels of IL-12 are particularly associated with endothelial (inner lining of the blood vessel) dysfunction which is correlated with heart disease, stroke and dementia (11, 12).


Oil Pulling Goes Beyond Brushing & Flossing

Brushing and flossing are obviously important for oral hygiene but oil pulling has some unique benefits.  The oil pulling has been shown to bind, trap and eliminate more microorganisms and get into deep pockets within the teeth and into some regions around root canals (13).

Root canals are a constant breeding ground for bacteria as they are essentially dead tissue that bacteria consistently feed upon.  You cannot brush or floss enough to get the infections out of the root canal.  But 10 minutes of oil pulling 1-2 times a day can be extremely effective at minimizing infectious bacteria in the root canal and the overall oral cavity (14).


How to Practice Oil Pulling: 

There are many different ways to practice oil pulling.  Many people swear by one particular method but various other strategies will work well for you.  Here are the most frequently asked questions that I get on a routine basis when it comes to the beautiful process of oil pulling.

What is the Best Type of Oil to Use?:

Use a high quality carrier oil such as organic coconut oil, organic olive oil or organic sesame oil.  I prefer to use coconut oil.  You can find my preferred brand here

Should I Use an Essential Oil?:

You may also want to use an antimicrobial essential oil such as tea tree oil, oregano oil  or lemon oil.  Just use 1 small drop as these oils are very strong.  You don’t need this as research has demonstrated great benefits with the use of the carrier oils above.

The benefit of the essential oil is that it has the potential to amplify the anti-microbial benefits you receive from the oil pulling process.  Give it a shot for a week and see what you think.  Be sure to ONLY use 1 VERY small drop each time.  Too much could be too irritating for your teeth and gums.


How Do You Oil Pull:

Take 1/2 tsp of carrier oil (coconut, sesame, olive, etc) and 1 drop of anti-microbial oil (tea tree, oregano, lemon, etc) and put in your mouth and swish around for 10-15 minutes.

Avoid gargling the oil but instead use slow pulling motions and be sure to get the oil to all reaches of the mouth.  Most people find that the oil feels thinner after the 10 minute mark.  Never swallow any of the oil as it is full of toxins and microbes.

After finishing the oil swishing, spit the oil into the toilet.  Put a cap full of hydrogen peroxide or a teaspoon of Himalayan salt into some clean water and wash the solution around your mouth to eliminate any of the toxic debris still in your mouth.  Go ahead and brush your teeth really well to help eliminate any other toxins that would still be in your mouth.

How Often Do I Do It?:

I recommend my clients do this 1-4 times daily depending upon their health history and dental health challenges.  Someone who has a root canal or multiple root canals, I will strongly encourage to oil pull 3-4x daily.

Someone without much dental challenges may do great with one oil pull session per day.  I typically recommend 1-2x daily for them.  I personally am in this boat as I have never had a cavity or any major dental work done.  I always oil pull in the AM at some point and will often do it again in the evening.

What is the Best Time to Oil Pull?

There is no real answer to this other than whatever time you have available.  I personally like to do it within the first hour of waking and the last hour before bed.

How Long Before I Notice Benefits?

Most people notice the health improvements within two weeks of beginning the oil pulling process.  Although your mouth may feel cleaner right away.

The typical benefits most experience include whiter teeth, better breath, better body odor, less joint pain and improved energy.  The long-term benefits are invaluable as this may be one of the best strategies for reducing chronic disease risk.  This process is simple, easy and inexpensive.

Can I Oil Pull Even Though I Have Amalgam Fillings?

Fortunately, oil pulling does not induce a detox reaction, nor will it pull mercury vapors out of fillings.  It will not wear out or cause corrosion in your fillings any more than having a salad with oil and lemon would.

People have told me they feel dizzy when they oil pull and this is most likely due to rigorous swishing.  Try using just a small amount – like 1/4 or 1/2 a teaspoon and letting it sit in your mouth with little to no switching for 5 minutes.  Slowly build your way up to wear you can handle 10-15 minutes of gentle swishing.  If you desire, you can then add more oil to your pulling sessions.

Can Oil Pulling Cause Gum Bleeding?

There is nothing about the process of oil pulling that would cause the gums to bleed or any unwanted dental issue.  However, some individuals have a sensitivity or even an allergy to a particular oil they are using.  If this is the case, that oil will cause more inflammation in their body and could lead to gum bleeding.

Additionally, if you use too much of the anti-microbial oils they could inflame your gum lining.  Be sure to only use 1 very small drop and never more each time you oil pull.

If you notice this or some other unwanted reaction that seems to consistently happen when you oil pull, try using different oils or discussing with your holistic health care practitioner.


Sources For This Article Include:

  1. Li X, Kolltveit KM, Tronstad L, Olsen I. Systemic Diseases Caused by Oral Infection. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 2000;13(4):547-558.
  2. Periodontal infections and cardiovascular disease Link Here
  3. Rautemaa R, Lauhio A, Cullinan MP, Seymour GJ. Oral infections and systemic disease–an emerging problem in medicine. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2007 Nov;13(11):1041-7. PMID: 17714525
  4. Singh A, Purohit B. Tooth brushing, oil pulling and tissue regeneration: A review of holistic approaches to oral health. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. 2011;2(2):64-68.
  5. Asokan S, Kumar RS, Emmadi P, Raghuraman R, Sivakumar N. Effect of oil pulling on halitosis and microorganisms causing halitosis: a randomized controlled pilot trial. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2011 Apr-Jun;29(2):90-4. PMID: 21911944
  6. Asokan S, Emmadi P, Chamundeswari R. Effect of oil pulling on plaque induced gingivitis: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. Indian J Dent Res. 2009 Jan-Mar;20(1):47-51. PMID: 19336860
  7. Matthews JC, You Z, Wadley VG, Cushman M, Howard G. The association between self-reported tooth loss and cognitive function in the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke study: An assessment of potential pathways. Journal of the American Dental Association (1939). 2011;142(4):379-390.
  8. Joshipura K, Zevallos JC, Ritchie CS. Strength of Evidence Relating Periodontal Disease and Atherosclerotic Disease. Compendium of continuing education in dentistry (Jamesburg, NJ : 1995). 2009;30(7):430-439.
  9. Hahn C-L, Best AM, Tew JG. Cytokine Induction by Streptococcus mutans and Pulpal Pathogenesis. Clements JD, ed. Infection and Immunity. 2000;68(12):6785-6789.
  10. Activation of Human Monocytes by Streptococcus mutans Serotype f Polysaccharide: Immunoglobulin G Fc Receptor Expression and Tumor Necrosis Factor and Interleukin-1 Production Link Here
  11. Leishman SJ, Do HL, Ford PJ. Cardiovascular disease and the role of oral bacteria. Journal of Oral Microbiology. 2010;2:3402
  12. Mishra M, Kumar H, Bajpai S, Singh RK, Tripathi K. Level of serum IL-12 and its correlation with endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance, proinflammatory cytokines and lipid profile in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2011 Nov;94(2):255-61. PMID: 21855158
  13. Asokan S, Rathan J, Muthu MS, Rathna PV, Emmadi P; Raghuraman; Chamundeswari. Effect of oil pulling on Streptococcus mutans count in plaque and saliva using Dentocult SM Strip mutans test: a randomized, controlled, triple-blind study. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2008 Mar;26(1):12-7. PMID: 18408265
  14. Peedikayil FC, Sreenivasan P, Narayanan A. Effect of coconut oil in plaque related gingivitis – A preliminary report. Niger Med J. 2015 Mar-Apr;56(2):143-7. PMID: 25838632


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59 Responses to 9 Surprising Health Benefits of Oil Pulling

  1. michele February 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    How much oil do you use a tsp. or Tbs ?

    • Tina Chisholm February 19, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

      What type of oil?

      • Dr. Jockers February 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

        Use a high quality oil such as organic coconut oil, organic olive oil or organic sesame oil.

  2. Dr. Jockers February 18, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    1 tsp should be all you need

  3. Lynne February 18, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Started this about 2 weeks ago and am seeing the results. My teeth have never felt so clean and are getting whiter! Anxious to see what my dentist says next time I go for my regular cleaning.

  4. C Meyers February 19, 2014 at 1:14 am #

    I’ve had a serious problem with reoccurring thrush in my mouth and down my throat. I had it 6 times in 7 months. I had been to the doctor and even an internalist many times. I have been on every drug and doing all kinds of natural stuff. I have spent a fortune trying to get rid of it. A few weeks ago my mouth was feeling funny. I went and looked in the mirror, yep it was back. On the inside of both upper and lower lip. I had just read about oil pulling a couple of days before. I had some organic virgin.coconut oil. I put some in my mouth and went about my morning routine. Wishing it for at least 30 minutes. Later I realized the thrush had almost vanished. I did it for 2 more days just in case. It hasn’t come back!!

    • Dave February 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

      how does one swish this for 10 minutes, let alone 30

  5. Dr. Jockers February 19, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    Great to hear that C…thanks for sharing!

  6. donna February 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    does it have to absolutely organic olive oli?

  7. Jackie February 19, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

    Village green network also has good article.
    I’ve been at it 7 months and its an easy morning habit. I cut back to 1/2 tsp coconut oil and it’s just as effective I believe.
    My routine is to ride stationary bike, read daily bible and swish or get ready for work and swish 15-20 min.
    Return is worthwhile: clean teeth, facial muscles stretched, nicer skin plus more on the inside.
    Avoid old oil or you can get sick.

  8. Dave February 19, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    can you do it before you go to sleep?

    can i take my anti-cavity and anti plaque rinses also, and in what order


  9. amcken3 February 19, 2014 at 8:15 pm #


    • Tama February 20, 2014 at 1:35 am #

      Why not oil pull with amalgam fillings? What happens?

      • Dr. Jockers February 20, 2014 at 9:09 am #

        Actually, Oil pulling is the safest way to clean your teeth when you have amalgam fillings. Brushing and flossing around the filling will cause more mercury vapor to be released. Oil pulling will not. Blessings!

  10. joy February 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    Might one expect any kind of detox reaction on skin,etc once getting started with oil pulling? Should this be done on an everyday routine?

  11. Dr. Jockers February 20, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Yes, best done 1-3x daily. You may have sore gums or inner cheeks when you first begin.

  12. Kik February 21, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

    This was the first day. Did it for 10 minutes. My teeth sparkled and my mouth felt great all day!

  13. Amanda February 21, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    I hear that oil pulling can also be done with coconut oil.
    Are the benefits similar?

  14. Dr. Jockers February 22, 2014 at 7:18 am #

    Great to hear that Kik! Amanda, I prefer coconut oil for this.

  15. Beth February 25, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

    Above it states to swish with Hydrogen Peroxide but I have been told not to because I have fillings. Is that true ?

    • Dr. Jockers February 25, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

      If you have amalgams than only use coconut oil…as it is least reactive. The worst thing for fillings is actually brushing and flossing around them (and chewing hard on them) as that is highly reactive.

      • Beth February 26, 2014 at 12:54 am #

        What a blessing to have a Dr. that is willing and who makes himself available to respond to people.

        Blessings to you and your family.

        Shalom !

  16. Liz February 27, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    Today, February 27, has been a week since we began the pulling exercise.
    We started out using the coconut oil for 6 days, and now we have switched to sesame oil, because it seems easier to just pour out of the bottle, rather than heating the
    coconut oil to liquefy. Which of the three (3) oils would be most beneficial for us
    us to use?
    Thanks so much for providing your wealth of health benefits.
    It has been a blessing for us!

  17. Liz February 27, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    Today, February 27, has been a week since we began the pulling exercise.
    We started out using the coconut oil for 6 days, and now we have switched to sesame oil, because it seems easier to just pour out of the bottle, rather than heating the
    coconut oil to liquefy. Which of the three (3) oils would be most beneficial for us
    us to use?
    Thanks so much for providing your wealth of health benefits.
    It has been a blessing for us!

  18. Dr. Jockers February 27, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    Liz, you don’t have to liquefy the coconut oil. You just take a small tsp and put it in your mouth and it will liquify in your mouth in about 5 seconds.

  19. Karen March 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Hi! Love your site, thank you so much! Going crazy with different websites saying O.P. not good if you have crowns or bridge work as it could work them loose. Do you have any information/sources to confirm or debunk that? I tried oil pulling for a couple of weeks and loved the clean feeling and fresher breath, however have been getting intermittent bit of tooth pain but it might be due to clenching/grinding/stress in my sleep. (x-ray confirmed that on a couple of the teeth). Thanks!

    • Dr. Jockers March 6, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

      Actually, Oil pulling is the safest way to clean your teeth when you have amalgam fillings. Brushing and flossing around the filling will cause more mercury vapor to be released. Oil pulling will not. Coconut oil is the safest oil to pull with. Blessings!

  20. Pat March 6, 2014 at 4:53 pm #

    I like to know what are the name of the parasites and if any lab research had ever look into microscopical to see what is in this oil after oil pulling ? I can not find any studies confirming the toxins heavy metals or parasites on it ,

    • Dr. Jockers March 6, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

      Neither have I Pat, but what I do know is that it lowers your microbial load. This is a HUGE aspect of health. Microbes both help and harm our body. When our microbial load (even the good guys) gets too high it puts too much stress on our system. Oil pulling is an easy and effective way to reduce your microbial load and reduce stress on your body and improve your oral and whole body health!

  21. Liz March 25, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Thanks so much,Dr. Jockers,for informing us about the proper use for (coconut oil ) oil pulling. We found that we really didn’t care for using the sesame oil and started back using the coconut oil. We have been using this method now over a month. And it has been worthwhile. We’re just wondering what foods can we use to cook with the remaining sesame oil ?

    • Dr. Jockers March 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

      Liz – Do not ever cook with sesame oil. It is mostly polyunsaturated and will combust under high heat. You may use it raw as a salad dressing.

  22. Liz W. March 26, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    Dr. Jockers, we have been told by plumbers not to pour oil down the drain, because it would cause clogging in the sewer line. With long term oil pulling, will this (spitting in the toilet) have any problem with the sewer lines?

  23. Dr. Jockers March 26, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    I don’t believe so Liz, I have been doing it for a while without an issue but if you are concerned about it then spit it in the trash can.

  24. Elizabeth May 9, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    I have been getting dizzy/slight vertigo during the day after oil pulling with coconut oil. I have read that this could be a “detox symptom” but also worry that the oil is pulling mercury out of my three amalgam fillings and into my bloodstream faster that my system can handle it. The vertigo is VERY unpleasant and I never had it before. Only happens on days I pull, and then maybe still leaves me feeling weird the next day. Any thoughts?

    • Dr Jockers May 9, 2014 at 4:07 pm #

      Yes you may be having detoxification issues. I would recommend you stop the pulling and seek out a good holistic dentist in your area to help you get the amalgams removed naturally and go through a heavy metal detox. Go here: http://iaomt.org/

  25. Martin Epstein June 25, 2014 at 9:23 pm #

    I have been receiving Hyperbaric Treatments from Bill in Buford. He tells me that you purchased a Hyperbaric from him. I need the treatment closer to my home in Woodstock rather than drive to Buford. Bill suggested that I contact you.
    Have you started offering that service?
    Please advise.
    Most people call me, Uncle Marty

  26. Lynn August 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    Dr Jockers I am curious if oil pulling will loosen bridgework. My mom has bridgework and has already had one of the bridges replaced due to the age of it (she has never done oil pulling). She has the new bridgework and also old bridgework and is worried the oil pulling will loosen them. I would appreciate any advise.
    Thank You

  27. Dr. Jockers August 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    No, I have never read or heard anything on that. If I had bridges I would be oil pulling 3-4x day to reduce the toxic load in my mouth.

    • Tania June 22, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

      What about a bridge is toxic? Is it better to leave a spot where a tooth has been pulled empty?

      • Dr. Jockers June 22, 2017 at 2:50 pm #

        Hey Tania, it can create pockets in the mouth where bacteria accumulate and constantly release harmful toxins into the body. If the procedure is necessary you may want to locate a Biological Dentist in your area. Post procedure once everything is healed you will want to perform good oral hygiene practices like oil pulling to minimize bacterial build up and keep it all clean.

  28. Rachel September 5, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Hi Dr. Jockers,

    I was wondering if it makes a difference when you oil pull around meals? If you’re doing it 3X a day for detox is it better to do it before a meal or after?
    I’ve heard quite a few of your talks lately on the different summits, they are awesome, thanks for all the info!!

  29. Dr. Jockers September 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    Thanks for the compliments Rachel! I would recommend doing it after meals as it will have a longer lasting effect at reducing your microbial load.

  30. Rachel White October 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Hi Dr Jockers,

    I have been oil pulling for a month now, I see some have issues oil puling with
    amalgam fillings. I only have 1, is it ok for me to oil pull with this type of filling? I don’t want to open the doors to other health problems.

    It’s relaxing to oil pull 1st thing in the morning, I’m hoping I don’t have to give it up because of the amalgam filling.

    Thanks for educating us

    • Dr Jockers October 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

      Hey Rachel,

      There are no issues with oil pulling with amalgam fillings. I would highly recommend doing it with just a straight coconut oil which is non-reactive with the amalgam. No essential oils as some of them are more reactive. Blessings!

      • Vicki Harbison February 21, 2015 at 6:38 am #

        I have been oil pulling with coconut oil for over a week and was ready to try adding oregano essential oil to it after seeing this on your website. Then I read your reply to Rachel. I have three amalgam fillings. Would oregano be ok to use? Also, if you crown the amalgam fillings will that reduce any effect of the fillings to the body. Thank you! I have enjoyed reading your articles. Vicki

        • Dr. Jockers February 21, 2015 at 6:54 am #

          Hey Vicki,

          Oregano oil is more volatile and reactive than coconut. So I only recommend oil pulling with coconut oil for those with amalgam fillings. But you can use oregano oil in many other ways. Blessings!

  31. Jody January 20, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    This was very interesting. Thank you Dr. Jockers. I have a mouth full of amalgam fillings and its good to know doing this can’t hurt me any, but it can help. I plan on picking up coconut oil today. Thanks

  32. Eoin January 25, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

    Hi Doctor David,

    I am interested in your comments about coconut oil being “the least reactive”. Can you point me to some reading material which backs up this comment, perhaps comparing olive oil, sesame oil and coconut oil.

    The reason I am questioning the idea is because I know coconut oil causes it’s own kind of die-off reaction when ingested, so it is far from being ‘unreactive’ in other areas of the body. Where can I read abut it’s relatively low reaction to metals/amalgams?

    Eoin in Ireland, Europe

  33. Dr. Jockers January 26, 2015 at 7:15 am #

    Hey Eoin,

    Coconut oil is anti-microbial because of lauric acid, but that is not reactive with metals. Anti-oxidants would be reactive – olive oil and sesame oil contain bioactive anti-oxidants. Coconut oil contains minimal anti-oxidants which makes it non-reactive.

    Die off from microbial populations is a different property than reactivity with metals.

  34. donna May 14, 2015 at 10:05 am #

    Hi dr jockers, this is really interesting. Whn I get up in the morning, I take an 8oz. Glass of water with. 1 teaspoon of. Of organitc. Apple cider vinegar. Will this be ok, if I start.doing the oil pulling with. Fractioned coconut oil?

  35. Michele January 17, 2016 at 11:33 am #

    WOW! On Friday after work, I started getting some tooth pain in my upper molars. That turned into what I think is an abscess. There was swelling and seemed to be some pus inside and a lot of pain. Wouldn’t you know it was a long weekend. After trying everything from rinsing with warm salty water, to anbesol, to alcohol, ibuprofen, etc. I woke up at 4Am to swelling and pain. I remembered what you had written about the oil pull and tried it. After 10 minutes, using just the organic coconut oil (we had some for cooking), all of the pain, swelling, and pus was gone!!! I’ve never seen anything work like this. Almost like magic. The side benefit was that my teeth were a little more sparkly and seemed whiter. After doing it a second time several hours later, there actually seems to be some healing of the area. Thank you Dr. Jockers for all you do for us. You unselfishly share information that helps us to be and stay healthy. I pray that God returns to you 10-fold the blessings you have given to others.

    • Dr. Jockers January 17, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

      That is awesome to hear Michele! Thank you so much for your prayers too!!

  36. Dee Barker January 30, 2016 at 10:01 pm #

    very interesting, will try this oil pulling. I understand drinking coconut oil in tea is good for you. Is this true? and how much daily? and if it is good for me should I drink “virgin” coconut oil or the coconut oil I use for cooking? thanks you very much.

    • Dr. Jockers January 31, 2016 at 5:06 am #

      Yes Dee, coconut oil in your tea is a great practice. I would recommend just 1 tsp of virgin or extra virgin coconut oil. Same for cooking. Blessings!

  37. Kathy poarch April 28, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

    My husband was told he needed a root canal. Will oil pulling prevent this

    • Dr. Jockers April 29, 2016 at 5:07 am #

      Yes it could potentially help prevent it. He should do it 2-3x daily and use something like tea tree oil with it.

    • Dr. Jockers May 19, 2016 at 7:38 am #


      Sorry to hear about this! Although oil pulling won’t necessarily prevent the need for a root canal, it will greatly benefit his oral health.

  38. Tomekia Clark May 3, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    I got a root canal yesterday morning….can I oil pull today….

    • Dr. Jockers May 4, 2017 at 11:03 am #

      Good Question Tomekia,

      You may want to ask your dentist about this. As long as all of the dental work is set solid in place and there is nothing left to heal, then oil pulling can be a great tool for you!

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